BOOK I. CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY.
7. Chapter vii. Containing such grave matter...
Containing such grave matter, that the reader cannot laugh once
through the whole chapter, unless peradventure he should laugh at the
When Jenny appeared, Mr Allworthy took her into his study, and spoke
to her as follows: "You know, child, it is in my power as a
magistrate, to punish you very rigorously for what you have done; and
you will, perhaps, be the more apt to fear I should execute that
power, because you have in a manner laid your sins at my door.
"But, perhaps, this is one reason which hath determined me to act in a
milder manner with you: for, as no private resentment should ever
influence a magistrate, I will be so far from considering your having
deposited the infant in my house as an aggravation of your offence,
that I will suppose, in your favour, this to have proceeded from a
natural affection to your child, since you might have some hopes to
see it thus better provided for than was in the power of yourself, or
its wicked father, to provide for it. I should indeed have been highly
offended with you had you exposed the little wretch in the manner of
some inhuman mothers, who seem no less to have abandoned their
humanity, than to have parted with their chastity. It is the other
part of your offence, therefore, upon which I intend to admonish you,
I mean the violation of your chastity;--a crime, however lightly it
may be treated by debauched persons, very heinous in itself, and very
dreadful in its consequences.
"The heinous nature of this offence must be sufficiently apparent to
every Christian, inasmuch as it is committed in defiance of the laws
of our religion, and of the express commands of Him who founded that
"And here its consequences may well be argued to be dreadful; for what
can be more so, than to incur the divine displeasure, by the breach of
the divine commands; and that in an instance against which the highest
vengeance is specifically denounced?
"But these things, though too little, I am afraid, regarded, are so
plain, that mankind, however they may want to be reminded, can never
need information on this head. A hint, therefore, to awaken your sense
of this matter, shall suffice; for I would inspire you with
repentance, and not drive you to desperation.